Does Your Unit Director Do This? - page 3

I work nights on a very, very busy and very understaffed med-surg floor. Lately, the unit dir. has started coming onto the floor in the mornings, with a detailed list of the patients' complaints (if... Read More

  1. by   soundsLikesirens
    mdslabod....'s my attitude that needs changing. I'm glad you pointed that out for me.

    I thought the problem was understaffing.

    Thanks for the tips.

    Next time someone wants to chat, of course I will sit by their bed and listen to a long-winded tale while the person in the next bed is calling for their pain medicine.

    That is what you are advising.

    Do the Math: 32 patients.
    2 RNs
    2 floor workers

    It's my attitude.....I am so glad to find that out, because the way it's going we are going to be down to 2 RNs and 1 floor worker on night shift but I'll make sure my attitude is right and that will solve the problem....
  2. by   soundsLikesirens
    Please take note how the topic of this thread has changed.

    It started out as "Does Your Unit Director Do This?", and has now degenerated into a blame-the-nurse scenario.

    Makes me wonder who this mdslabod really is.
  3. by   Ryan11011
    Wow, what a tough situation you have. From my experience in similar circumstances, I would approach this from the view point of reaching mutual understanding and then working with your director to improve customer satisfaction. You will get further with her if you approach this with an attitude of being concerned for the patients -- possibly by saying, "I want the best for our patients, too, but I'm finding it difficult to meet their needs given the time constraints. Could you please help me to identify ways in which we could work more efficiently?" I wouldn't tell her that you are understaffed and that's the bottom line -- let her come to that conclusion. Remember, people in those positions like to be the ones to solve the problem -- it makes them look and feel good. Initially, it's easy to react defensively, but it usually does not provoke a cooperative response. Remember that your goal is to provide optimal care to your patients and this is most likely to happen when there is cooperation and understanding between management and staff. Even though it may be difficult right now, assume that your director wants the best for the patients AND the staff. Good luck and let us know how this turns out.

    And no, I am not in management!
  4. by   ComicRN
    I have been a floor nurse and a unit manager. I have always tried to listen the the complaints of patients and their families. Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to listen. We can't always "fix" the problems, but we can take the time to listen. Often, the nurses who are on the floor are so busy that they may not have the time to stop and listen to an angry or upset family member for 20 minutes.

    A manager, whose time may not be a structured, has the time to stop and listen to the patients/ families. If the patients/ families feel that they are being listened to, sometimes that is all it takes. What the manager decides to do with those complaints is another matter. It sounds as though you manager may need to work on her "people skills" a little bit!!

    Something that I found works very well is the "preemptive strike". When walking by a patient's room, try just sticking your head in and asking if there is anything you can do or get for the patient. Yes, I know that this can sometimes turn into a 20 minute excursion. However, if it's not a good time for something prolonged, let the patient know that and tell them that you will return, or ask another staff member to help that patient to the bathroom or assist them with their TEDS stockings, etc. I know that sounds sort of cutesy and like something out of a first year nursing text book, but it really does work. I have found that it cuts down on the call bells going off, as well as the number of complaints!
  5. by   Mijourney
    Hi soundslikesiren. This manager does not sound mature or people oriented.

    I agree with the previous assessments. You do not use customer satisfaction surveys to routinely "whip" your employees. I also feel that you and your coworkers need to routinely document your encounters with the woman so that you all can be able to make your case in writing. With the nursing shortage, most employers can ill-afford to lose trained nurses and nursing staff.

    Question. Are your job evaluations suffering as a result of the unit manager actions? Does she give you a copy of these results? I feel you have a right to know. These surveys are supposed to be used for improvement and corrective action as well as encouragement not punishment.

    I would not be surprised that upper management is keeping tabs on her handling of the unit. Some posters have already aluded to her probable self-destruction.
  6. by   JennieBSN
    All this 'customer service' crap makes me wanna go work with plants....dirt and leaves can't talk.

    I think this whole 'customer service' junk has gotten WAY out of hand.

    I disagree w/you, Michele. I'm sorry, but tolerating verbal abuse and threats is not in my job description, or sls's, or ANY nurse's for that matter. There's turning the other cheek and keeping a cool head, and then there's being a DOORMAT.... If a patient is an a**hole, it IS the patient's fault...not the nurse. Glad you don't get patient complaints. The rest of us will hopefully someday be as perfect and efficient as you...
    Last edit by JennieBSN on Aug 17, '01
  7. by   soundsLikesirens

    I am as concerned about anyone else (and so are the other nurses, for that matter) about customer satisfaction -

    But -

    You have to crawl before you can walk.

    Give me safe staffing.
    Then I will worry about customer satisfaction.

    (Not to say I don't worry about it now. But when you are so critically short-staffed, it is a safety issue.)

    I should not have to explain this to you.
    If you're really an RN.

    Question: do you think 32 patients (high acuity)
    2 RNs and 2 floorworkers
    is safe staffing?
  8. by   soundsLikesirens

    You suggested sticking my head in a patient's door to see if they need anything - and if I am too busy to tend to them; to send someone else.

    What if there is no one else to send???

    What part of 'short-staffing' do you not understand???

    When the call light rings at the nurses' station - and there is no one there to answer it because we are all on the floor ----

    that is a safety issue, then, not just a customer satisfaction issue.
  9. by   maryb

    Is mdslabod your supervisor by any chance? LOL

    Seriously, mdslabod's facility must be MUCH better staffed, maybe we should all work there?
  10. by   tiger
    our old unit manager used to instruct us not to tell the patients when we were working short-staffed because it was just something that should not be said to a pt./family. i ignored her instructions. i let my patients know right away by saying something like--"we are working two people short today so if you don't see me as often or if it takes a little while for your light to get answered i hope you'll understand." most of the patients i've had appreciate the honesty and try not to call so much. we are usually full staffed but they have cut our staff back so you still feel like your working short everyday. even though we are getting more acute pts. our manager just walked in one day and said the max # of staff is now 8 not 10 and continued to drop the rest of the numbers according with the # of patients.
    Last edit by tiger on Aug 17, '01
  11. by   JennieBSN
    Yep, my manager (who has a chronic case of cranio-rectal inversion...) is cutting staffing also, after we've already lost 4 full timers to either retirement or moves out of state, and will be increasing our admissions by 70%. Yet we're still expected to 'handle it' and give the same level of patient care we've always given...which is why myself and a lot of other nurses are now turning in their resignations...

    So much for 'customer satisfaction.' The 'customer (gag)' will be lucky to get their call light answered...
  12. by   soundsLikesirens
    This is the kind of crap I am talking about.

    They don't want you to tell the patients you're short-staffed -
    so what the hell do they think the patients/family will conclude about why it takes so long to get their needs met -

    of course they are going to think the nurse is a *****!!!

    And then they have the gall to complain about customer satisfaction?!?!?

    Get Real!!!
  13. by   yoda4061
    I also agree with PRMENRS, that to cover yourself, carry that little notebook....I'm an LVN that worked in a long term care facility that did basically the same thing......the residents knew we were short staffed, but never brought that up when complaining to the higher ups! thats when the lil notebook became handy...I took extra time out of my day to stop by the administrators office and let them know we made it through another day... and the book would come out.... I would share with them what happened with each potential complaint and they loved it!! I was soon promoted into admins!!
    I try to stay ahead of the game and realize that "most" supervisors are trying to do a job too.....anyway good luck!!

    If your truly frustrated at work take a mental therapy moment close your eyes and silently repeat to yourself, over and over:

    The Sky is Blue, and the Grass is Green, the sky is blue and the grass is green.......